The Legend of Korina

Chapter Two

Jalon's Goodbye

There was nothing better to be shared than silence. In the blinding quiet of night Jalon could lay back and think of nothing and everything at all. At the moment there were two plains of reality open and he chose to bathe in the one that was created by his own psyche. It was a beautiful place filled with roses, spring blossom, cotton wool and faeries - the perfect ideal and unreal place for said psyche to rest in.

This was his little pocket of nothingness; his existence outside the normal, where he was completely himself, whatever might be going on outside. He had yet to find it's true significance but he knew it was there somewhere; it was simply a matter of looking hard enough. Then one day when he least expected it, the answer would be there and everything would be ok, everything would make sense. His life would have meaning and with it the cataclysmal and disaster that is known as omnipotence. Strange how even in this fluff filled space of his mind, everything was still so undecided. So corrupt that it would bring back the past and forgotten notions of caring.

When he was a child he had delusions. These delusions had been suppressed and repressed so often that they haunted him now, twenty years after their creation. While others had found god, sex, money, work, ambition he had stayed still through it all.

What happened to him? Could anyone tell him that? When everyone else was clawing at the schools and universities, hunting for their niche to fit, where did he go? Did he follow blindly? Let others choose for him, urge them to make the decisions that he didn't want to have to face, the life altering ones that he was convinced he had no sway in?

Well… perhaps that was right, but who cared anymore? Here he was for everyone to see. Fallible, screwed up, twisted little old failure Jalon, scrounging a living out of the forgotten and drenched up feelings of pain that swelled inside him, because everything he had experienced was now a cold hard clot in the circulation of life. He spent his days living on this darkness feeling out the blackness and swimming daily in its depths. So empty, so messed up!

The cold air caught his breath in a twisting of mist as he exhaled. The apathy was enough to bring his senses back up to speed. He lapsed into another sigh. His little pocket of fairyland was gone and now he could feel the chill night air pierce his thin clothing.

Trinity house was a large building built in the Georgian style. It's parameters stretched for miles, filled with meadows, orchards, grazing cattle, and an eighteen-hole golf course. It banked into the lonely woods of Eyron valley as though they had always been one. It was not his house. Not even close, but that was where he found himself when the nymphs of his mind were gone. Sat on a large ironwork bench that looked over a small stream and ornamental garden beyond.

The sky was a deceptive dark. Nighttimes in the country were so wildly different than in his cramped city, light polluted, back garden. The moons glow was a beautiful mash of silver and red, larger in the sky than he could ever recall seeing it before, and the stars! His whole body felt like it was being pushed to the feet as he stared up at their celestial magnificence.

The slightest of breezes caught his hair, sweeping it gently across the forehead. "Feh!" he thought, "Lian really doesn't know how lucky he is… to be able to sit here every night and enjoy such a scene. Who needs flesh and blood when there is something so beautiful to ignite inspiration? What a waste! This should be an artist's home, not an accountant's."

Low, flat footsteps approached the garden bench he was stretched out on, but he didn't turn to face them. The bottle of bud in his hand was instead, swirled deliciously under the dictation of his wrist, before being brought to his lips and drunk back in a large and inelegant gulp.

"You know what your problem is Jalon?" He looked up slowly up only to meet with twin pools of green, as they stared back at him. "You think too much."

The mood was lost with a shrug and scowl at the interruption. "It's the company." Jalon replied.

"What are you doing out here? Miranda's been asking about you for the last twenty minutes."

"That's part of the reason I escaped."

Lian chuckled, "She's a nice girl. Don't be such an arse even before you know more about her. Come on, come back in, I promise I won't let anything bad happen to you."

"But that would defeat my own plans. I'd still want to escape."

"From…?" That tall and striking stature of his, shruged for emphasis.

"You of course."

He smiled. "You're an arsehole!"

"Yes." Jalon smirked, getting to his feet and brushing himself down. "Yes I am."

It's disconcerting isn't it? How sometimes the people you rely on most, are the ones that interrupt at the most god-awful times. Still, what did anyone care about Jalon's troubles, let alone someone as successful and adept as Liam? The term friend just got in the way sometimes. He wasn't sure how Lian classed him, in what little social affection he held, but sometimes his tendency to cling was unnerving.

Jalon turned towards the garden gate and freedom from the hellishness of civility and all the annoying inflections it created.

"Where are we going?" Lian asked, getting up as well.

"I'm going this way and you… you can do whatever the hell you like."

Lian stopped, his strong jaw clenching. Jalon didn't know what was up with him? He had never given him reason to care when he was so harsh in the past. "So long as I don't go the same way as you, right?" he accused.

There is a difference in every person, no matter how similar their dispositions, their tastes, their passions, and pursuits. Lian and Jalon had known each other from… well neither could probably give you an exact estimation, because to Jalon, Lian had always been there. He couldn't remember a time when he wasn't. Just as every other aspect of his life was a jumble of confusion, Lian was his continuity. It was strange how Jalon didn't feel closer to him for it. Perhaps it was because he had learnt early in what way his company could change people. He couldn't quite place a finger on how it happened, but there was something dark and unnatural that seemed to surround him and it was a burden that appeared wanted to oppress on his shoulder the older he got.

"I am me, as I've always been. Would you want me to be any different?" he asked, feeling that something out of the normal, pulling painfully at his chest.

"No," Lian admitted with a sigh, just as Jalon had expected.

"Yeah right!" He snorted, pulling out a cigarette.

"I don't!" he defended. "OK… there was a time when I thought it might be nice to receive a glimpse of a smile rather than that scowl. I wanted to hear you say my name, rather than listen to you swear or belittle me before I even had the chance to say hello, but…"

"But…?" Jalon enquired, lighting up.

"But…" Lian continued, stretching nonchalantly and keeping pace, "I know better now. Jalon wouldn't be Jalon without the customary fuck off's."

Jalon smirked, but his forehead was still drawn. The troubles he had felt more and more violently recently, still rested heavily on his brow; he couldn't shift them for anyone, especially not to someone so completely ignorant to pain and suffering. Lian was someone he couldn't let the darkness be let onto no matter how bad it became, or however heavy his shoulders felt under its weight. Worst of all this though was the fact that even though he was a complete arse to Lian on a daily basis, the fool still had the audacity to care for him when he didn't want anyone to. Nothing was the same when you had come from where he had. When would he learn that all Jalon had ever yearned to do was be with the cotton wool, where the pain or the darkness couldn't get to him?

"You're and idiot," Jalon replied bluntly.

"Yes!" He agreed. "Got anymore?"

Jalon sighed, this wasn't going to be easy. "Look I really don't care for you, your wife or her guest, I just want to be on my own for the time being. Can you at least give me that much?" He asked, the pain now evident in his voice.

Concern drifted onto Lian's features - the last thing that Jalon wanted. "What's wrong?" He asked moving to pat his friend on the back.

"Nothing!"

"You can't fool me Jalon! I've known you too long. Let me in. Tell me what's eating you. I can tell this isn't right I mean look at you. You've become so thin, and your eyes, I swear the light in them has changed. Let me in old friend. Tell me what I can do to help."

"No one can do anything." Jalon replied.

"So I was right there is something wrong."

Jalon turned, his eyes a mixture of fire and water. They slanted, accused and bit with raw anger, but in the end they were still human, displaying the moisture of standing tears, pain and despair. "I can't say." He mumbled trying to quash the emotion. "This is something I have to work through on my own. I can't afford to drag you down Lian. You have a wife to think about, the beginnings of a family. Be sensible. Whatever is happening to me isn't good, I don't know why I can feel it is as much, but I know you shouldn't get anywhere near it, no one should."

Lian took a couple of tentative steps back. "You're scaring me Jalon!" He exclaimed, panic and compassion mixing in the twist of his brow.

Jalon fell to his knees, the moonlight brushing his body in a wash of silver. The stones of the gravel walkway felt sharp and painful though his thin dress trousers. He looked down to his hands as they clawed into the small stones. He could feel the dirt beneath, gouging under his fingernails. "I'm scaring myself." He agreed in a thin whisper. "It will pass," he finished, "I'll see Julia in the morning. She always manages to help me control it?"

"Julia?" he inquired, "You mean the weird girl from the Merlion meet?"

"Weird," Jalon laughed derisively, "Any weirder than what you see right now?"

"But she's a witch."

"Yes." He admitted, letting the stones in his hand, fall in concentricity to the ground. "Yes she is, and a very good one at that."

"So you'll let a completely unbalanced stranger help, but not your oldest friend."

"No she doesn't help, she guides me. There is a difference, and if she is a stranger to you then you really shouldn't pronounce judgment on her, should you?"

"No," He sighed, looking to the floor, "No I shouldn't, but I can't help feeling jealous. I wish you'd open up to me."

Jalon sighed along with his friend, "The truth is that I don't know what the hells wrong either. Julia calls it a Halfworld evil, whatever that is. I don't believe half of what she says either, but her magic does help. I don't think it is magic, more of a deep meditative trance, something along those kind of lines, but it helps keep my mind in check."

"Have you," Lian looked apprehensive, not sure whether to continue or not, "Have you considered professional, psychiatric help?"

He waved a dismissive hand. "Yes. Shit lot of good that did."

"Why leave it until now to tell me Jalon? I thought I knew everything about you."

"Things change Lian. People, places… lifestyles. You're happy, you have a new life, a new future to look forward to. I'll always be your friend, but Karia will always be your wife. She needs you more."

Jalon got to his feet, brushing the stones away and shaking his head in disgust. "You shouldn't have pushed," he continued, "but now you know what are you going to do?" He looked deep into Lian's eyes, hoping with a strength of mind and resoluteness that would have done most army captains proud, the answer would be the right one.

At length his long time friend swore under his breath. "Fuck" The expletive echoed against the clear night sky, "Nothing, I am going to do nothing about it Jalon, because you don't want me to, but if you ever change your mind then let me know."

Closing his eyes and exhaling in relief, Jalon smiled. It felt unnatural after the many months he had had to suffer, but it was a genuine smile, and it played beautifully over his strongly defined jaw. "Thank you." He whispered.

"Don't thank me. I still want to knock the seven hells out of you for not letting me know about this sooner."

"Like you could?"

Lian laughed, "Wanna bet?"

"I'm not a gambling man." Jalon replied, "Now go back inside."

"Are you coming?"

"No."

Lian rolled his eyes, "Unsociable git."

Jalon, smirked, and shrugged his shoulders, "Of course."

"It's ok, I understand, I'll tell the others you're not feeling very well."

"Thanks, and Lian?"

"What?"

"Take care arsehole."

They both laughed, the sound carrying on the small breeze as all problems were, for the meantime, forgotten.

"You too," replied Lian, before giving his friend a light hug, and turning back towards the house.

Jalon remained a little while longer, his thoughts drifting up to the stars he had admired before being interrupted. His thoughts instantly turned back to a serious tune. He knew what he had to do, what he should have done a long time ago. He couldn't let this carry on. Lian was part of a life that he didn't belong to anymore. Staying with him, or near him, was a tie that had to be severed. He had a new life and so would Jalon. This was the past, a forgotten memory in the breath of time. Tomorrow he would leave it where it was supposed to be. Tomorrow he would see Julia for the last time and then he would leave.

There was no where for him to go, no one for him to seek out, but if he remained he'd stay stagnant, closed off the part of his being that was screaming for something more meaningful. He had to explore, find out what his mind was craving for, and would succumb to the plea of the internal energy he had spent so long, and so many painful months trying to ignore. Then… then he would just be… just exist as he wanted.

He had known for so long and yet never had the courage to stand up and take the challenge. His destiny was calling, what it would tell, what he would find he couldn't tell, but some things were never meant to be easy, or met without effort. He would survive, prosper, figure it all out, and he would do it alone.